Who doesn’t love, and miss, Mr. Rogers? At The Curator, Vesper Stamper writes about the beloved show and its creator:
Booking flights to Europe—does anyone have any SAS Airlines horror stories? The Waldorf educational philosophy pinpoints the end of a “fantasy worldview” right at about age six or seven, which is why, in that model, formal education in didactic subjects like reading are only hinted at until after this “awakening” has taken place. We find this line between “real” and “imagined” to be extremely fuzzy at seven, which explains the monsters in the closet, the bedwetting, the imaginary friend, the fluidity in understanding of time. The last thing that children would seem to need during these formative years would be sending their precious emotional and mental cargo on a spaceship into the Universe. What if the Universe is the Ultimate Closet of Monsters?
Fred Rogers, however, brings the scale of childhood experience into the confined square footage of the child’s own person.* His small house set is, as he readily tells children, merely his television house. It is a model of the imagination: it has possibilities (Will Purple Panda come to Make-Believe today? What trick does Lady Elaine have up her sleeve?), but also boundaries and routines: Trolley always goes to Make-Believe, never to any place else; Mr. Rogers demarcates the time for imagination by changing out of his “real” coat and shoes into his “playtime” sweater and sneakers. This helps children gently bridge the “real” and “imagined” worlds between which they are in constant flux.